The German Democratic Republic, commonly referred to as East Germany, was neither democratic nor a republic. It was a repressive dictatorship.
"Memories of Life in East Germany: Snapshots" is a memoir comprised of 58 short prose texts focusing on experiences Richard A. Zipser had or things he observed while traveling and doing research in communist East Germany during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This book is a companion piece to his first memoir, "Remembering East Germany," which he published in 2021. Like its predecessor, Snapshots offers readers the unique perspective of an American who, as an outsider living in East Germany, gained unusual insider knowledge and experience of that totalitarian society. Through the snapshots which capture telling moments, people, events, and encounters, Zipser partially recreates the bygone world he experienced firsthand as a young professor, for the benefit of English-speaking readers today. This fascinating book, like its "sibling" memoir, provides unique insights into a closed society behind the Iron Curtain that no other Westerner was able to experience so intensely. It reflects, on multiple levels, how Zipser experienced communist East Germany and how it in turn experienced him. His book will transport its readers back in time to the chilling Cold War days of yesteryear and East Germany, a country that in 1990 suddenly and unexpectedly vanished.
Richard A. Zipser is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Delaware. His field of specialization is literature of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany). He is the author of several major books on different and very important aspects of East German literature and cultural policy.